"The Metropolis" Top 5 Page for this destination Exeter by johngayton

Exeter Travel Guide: 290 reviews and 705 photos

Exeter - a boring city??

Exeter has had a bit of bad press recently, being named as one of the most boring cities in the country. According to a certain national newspaper, I don't recall which, but obviously one without actual reporters, Exeter is supposed to be nothing but "High Street Chain Shops, Coffee Bars and Pubs".

What absolute tosh!

My little darling here, having a quick scratch before going for a swim, was photographed not even ten minutes walk from the High Street.

Okay, on the High Street itself are the usual culprits: Dixons, Waterstones, M&S, All the banks,Costa Coffee..........and etc. But criticising kind of misses the point, most of the population of Devon live in rural areas and we actually need to go shopping in these sort of shops from time to time, go to the bank, and whilst we're here drop into Burger King for a treat!!

The High Street itself is maybe 400 yards (metres if you prefer) long and as soon as you get off it, left, right, up or down you find yourself in EXETER, with its myriad little shops, interesting little pubs, restaurants, The Cathedral, theatres, gardens, the river........the list is endless! And the great thing is you don't have to go very far to find things.

Polemic Continued, Chapter2

Even though I haven't been in for a few years, McGahey's has long been a lifeline on the tobacco front for me. Not only do they stock my particular brand, but will send it out to me when I'm stranded in "Gauloises Free" regions. As an invertebrate (sic) smoker this sort of service is absolutely essential.

But to return to my polemic - McGahey's is slap-bang in the middle of the "boring" High Street. And it is not the only "exception that proves the rule".

There is of course "Dingles", ok it's now owned by House of Fraser, but still keeps its particular Exeter character and only a matter of paces off the High St proper there's Gandy St, with its idiosyncratic collection of oddbod shops -- I might even write a shopping tip!

And at either end of the 400 yards of Nationals, you have Sidwell Street , with its really useful little minimarket - watch batteries, hand tools, mobile accessories...........and heading towards the river down Fore St, a little arcade with "Gay Dogs" - specialist in purple poodle jobs, "Star Child" - herbalist and tarot readings, continue and you have "Chuckle Shoes" - made to order or from stock, "The Yellow Emperor" - herbal viagra now available! And thats just a lucky bag type pick!

And of course no page of mine would be complete without at least one pub!

A little trendier than I normally prefer for a pub, but a decent pint of beer, even though they use a strange sort of electric pump, last seen in Manchester in the late seventies, good bar food and pleasant laid back atmosphere. A little oasis in the City Centre and there are quite a few others - try out The Well House, overlooking Cathedral Green or the City Walls Hotel just before the Iron Bridge (and the barber shop next door is where I get my hair cut when in Exeter - that's a digression and a half!! Pubs to haircuts all within the same brackets - but there is a reason............it's like this: I never go straight to the pub, I only allow myself to have a drink if i've done something to justify it and a haircut is as good a justification as any!)

If you are a pub person here's a really good pub site for Exeter, Cheers Stu!: Exeter thro' the bottom of a beer glass

Just to round things off, Exeter is Exeter and I love her just as she is and she is certainly not boring!

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Everything is accessible
  • Cons:Not too great in centre when the pubs close
  • In a nutshell:City Life, Country Living
  • Last visit to Exeter: May 2011
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (85)

Comments (14)

  • alza's Profile Photo
    Apr 9, 2014 at 6:28 PM

    I thought we could comment on individual Reviews now but seems I must do so on the general page. Very interesting and well written, thanks for all the useful info too. Loved the House that moved, the Caesar salad & lots more. The coffee pic on Cathedral yard could console anyone that no wine is served... although I can't imagine a meal with coffee. Now I wonder if they have croissants in Exeter cafés. :-)

    • johngayton's Profile Photo
      Apr 10, 2014 at 5:05 AM

      Yes you'll find plenty of places for croissants but I can't think of any, off-hand, which match the quality of Premiere Moisson and the like.

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Jan 28, 2012 at 7:40 AM

    Hello, John! ~ Thanks for your virtual tour of Exeter, a city worth visiting...

  • Myfanwe's Profile Photo
    May 21, 2011 at 6:09 AM

    Hi John, Thanks for the great info on Exeter, we'll be popping by here a couple of hours next Saturday en route to Cornwall, I think I've spotted a place for lunch already!! Best wishes, Vicki

  • Durfun's Profile Photo
    Mar 30, 2010 at 9:25 AM

    Another place I have to stop in for a bit! I've whizzed past it though! BTW, Mr Chef, I loved real Greek food. Nice :)

  • lou31's Profile Photo
    Feb 16, 2008 at 10:23 PM

    Thanks for the information on Exeter...I have it ear marked for my UK trip...it is well written page...cheers

  • LauraWest's Profile Photo
    Sep 6, 2007 at 9:02 AM

    Dropped by to say hello, in Exeter. Yes, virtually, of course. I hope you enjoyed your pub visit! I will write more later... Cheers!

  • Aug 15, 2007 at 8:22 PM

    Very nice being with you in Exeter, John! Leka Nosht, Marina

  • Callavetta's Profile Photo
    Sep 5, 2006 at 7:27 PM

    Wow, Did you wear a tie?

  • Lacristina's Profile Photo
    Oct 24, 2005 at 7:25 PM

    I visited Devon once, maybe 15 years ago - Ottery St. Mary. Charming church there. Stayed in a thatched roof B&B, and am quite sure we drove to Exeter for dinner one night.

  • cazz38's Profile Photo
    Sep 26, 2005 at 9:05 AM

    Great page on my hometown John.I love the double locks.Thanks for dropping by.

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